Supplement A

Apostasy and Heresies Sheltered in the PC(USA)

{This is not intended as an exhaustive treatment of the topic. Instead it is only an attempt to offer concrete, representative examples of the types of problems occurring in the PC(USA) along with appropriate documentation.}

 

Official Endorsements by the Entire Presbyterian Church (USA)
The Book of Common Worship

  • Our Book of Common Worship includes the following prayer:

“Eternal God, you are the one God to be worshiped by all, the one called Allah by your Muslim children, descendants of Abraham as we are. Give us grace to hear your truth in the teachings of Mohammed, the prophet, and to show your love as disciples of Jesus Christ, that Christians and Muslims together may serve you in faith and friendship. Amen.”[1]

  • It also includes a prayer that praises ‘God’ “for diverse faith among the peoples of the earth,” and his grace that practitioners of various religions “may celebrate [his] goodness, act upon [his] truth, and demonstrate [his] righteousness.”[2]

 

Ministries Approved by the PC(USA)
These ministers are offered as examples of those who very publicly depart from historic and definitional Christianity. The issue is not whether these are decent human beings; whether these are intelligent and sometimes eloquent; whether these are well intentioned. The issue is that they offer their religious insights in place of Christianity, while calling them ‘Christianity’, and this substitution is part of their teaching ministry and officially validated by the Presbyterian Church (USA). These are not exceptionally unique in the PC(USA) – many Presbyterian pulpits offer the same types of teachings and actions, but these have sought and received a wider audience than their local church. No one is disputing their right to hold or proclaim these opinions as private persons; however, given the connectional nature of our denomination, all Presbyterians are complicit in giving them an official Presbyterian platform for their proclamations.

 

Rev. Jim Rigby: Pastor of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Austin, TX. Rev. Rigby is a member of Mission Presbytery. Under his leadership, St. Andrews Presbyterian Church accepted Dr. Robert Jensen, a self-professed atheist as a member. The person in question proceeded to write a piece, “Why I Am a Christian (Sort Of)” for the Palestine Chronicle and other news outlets, explaining his choice. The article begins:

“I don't believe in God. I don't believe Jesus Christ was the son of a God that I don't believe in, nor do I believe Jesus rose from the dead to ascend to a heaven that I don't believe exists. Given these positions, this year I did the only thing that seemed sensible: I formally joined a Christian church.”[3]

Dr. Jensen proceeds to provide his reasons for this odd-seeming choice:

“My decision to join a church was more a political than a theological act.”[4]

More significantly, Dr. Jensen shares the vision behind his strategy – one that concerns the future of “Christianity”:

“This claim requires some explanation about the reasons I joined, and also opens up a discussion of what the term "Christian" could, or should, mean.”

“Some might argue that promoting such expansive conceptions of faith would eventually make the term Christian meaningless. If one can be a Christian without accepting the resurrection, then calling oneself Christian would have no meaning beyond an expression of support for some basic moral principles that are near-universal. That is partly true; if this strategy were successful, at some point people would stop fussing about who is and isn't a Christian -- and that would be a good thing.”[5]

How then did Rev. Rigby and the congregation he pastors respond – to what clearly amounted to the use of church membership for political advancement and a sinister agenda (or more precisely, an intentional agenda to alter historic Christianity – so that it ceased to be historic Christianity)? Jensen was able to answer affirmatively the three questions asked of him in order to join:

“[He] affirmed that I (1) endorsed the core principles in Christ's teaching; (2) intended to work to deepen my understanding and practice of the universal love at the heart of those principles; and (3) pledged to be a responsible member of the church and the larger community.”[6]

Rev. Rigby then wrote a rather troubling defense of his actions for Counterpunch.

“Because life is an ineffable mystery, religion speaks in pictures and symbols. To accept or reject the symbols literally is to miss the point from two different sides. Those who fight over whether God exists are like foolish pedestrians who praise or curse a red light as they step into oncoming traffic. The question isn't whether God exists like a brick exists, but rather "what part of our experience does the symbol ‘God' reveal and what parts does it obscure?"”

"God" is a symbol of the truth that stands outside our widest context. "God" is a symbol of the reality deeper than our ultimate concern. "God" is a symbol of the mystery that lies between the poles of our clearest rational dichotomy. The point is not to affirm the reality of the symbol itself, but to affirm the reality to which the symbol points.”

“Surely the essence of Christianity or any religion is not found in dogma but in the life of love of which the creeds sing. If God had wanted us to simply recite creeds, Jesus would have come as a parrot.”

“So the question before my church was not whether Dr. Jensen could recite religious syllables like a cockatiel, but whether he would follow the core teachings of Jesus and learn more and grow more into Christ's universal love of which the creeds sing.” [Rev. Rigby is curiously silent about what these core teachings might actually be – except for the general political emphasis.] [7]

All of this is in keeping with the ‘canned’ mission statement of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church – its second article reads, “Recognize the faithfulness of other people who have other names for the way to God's realm, and acknowledge that their ways are true for them, as our ways are true for us.”[8]

In a Texas Monthly article, “St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church”, William Martin describes views Rev. Rigby espoused in a sermon:

““The Resurrection,” he asserted, “took place when the community was born. What rose was the body of Christ. Maybe a body got up; I don’t care. That’s not the point . . . It’s a symbol of something deeper. Something beyond place and time. What the great saints and sages have discovered . . . through prayer and meditation, is that the deeper you go into your awareness, the more universal it is. And what they discover is that they are not just one little life; they are the Big Life and so are you. And they set up ways of understanding, through rituals, through Communion, through baptism, to teach you that you also are the One Life . . . What these symbols are talking about are not things that happened; they are things that are always true. The Resurrection is happening now.””[9]

 

Rev. John A. Shuck: The pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton (TN) and member of Holston Presbytery. In both published sermons and on his blog – which he describes as a part of his teaching ministry – Rev. Shuck has proclaimed doctrines that are completely at odds with Christianity. Holston Presbytery (from which Rev. Shuck derives his authority as a minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA)) is aware of Rev. Shuck’s writings and is apparently content with its endorsement.

           Rev. Shuck on a variety of doctrines:

·        Christianity –

o       “You may have heard that there is one way to be a Christian, and that is to be a literalist Christian. The virgin birth, the empty tomb, an error-free Bible, Jesus dying for our sins and returning in the clouds is a package deal … I don’t believe that we have to make that black and white either/or choice.”[10]

o       “What happens to those folks when they realize that the Bible is not error-free or that Christianity isn’t the only or even the best religion?”[11]

o       “As humanity continues to grow, we begin to realize that we have created the god who has created us. We just forgot. We have developed the stories, the doctrines, the beliefs in response to dissatisfaction and fear.”[12]

o       “When we become conscious that humanity is the creator of the gods and of the stories of the gods, we can begin to evaluate these stories. Which of them are still worth telling?”[13]

·        The nature of God –

o       “Conceiving of God as a personal being has become increasingly problematic. We may imagine God in personal terms in prayer, worship, or poetry, but even there the language we use does not fit the reality we see.”[14]

o       “A theology for the 21st century, in my view, may very well begin with God, not as a personal Creator, a human writ large, but Creativity itself.”[15]

o       “Mystery was called by different names in different languages in different places— / The Great Spirit, Marduk, the Goddess, Brahman, The Holy One of / Israel, God, Sophia, Christ, Allah, The No-Thing, the Ground of Being. / But Mystery is elusive, not allowing a name to tame it, / Allowing no human to claim it for a possession.”[16]

·        Jesus Christ –

o       “Jesus was a human being. Let the man rest in peace.”[17]

o       “When I think of Jesus or the Buddha or Mohammed or Hildegaard of Bingen I think of individuals who have achieved a higher level of consciousness than I have achieved… Jesus like the Buddha and other enlightened mystics had a heightened level of consciousness … They are, I think, the first fruits of a higher evolutionary stage for humanity.”[18]

o       “Jesus is one of the great light-bearers”.[19]  [This is a very peculiar phrase – I wonder where Rev. Shuck gleaned it; another way of saying this would be “Jesus is one of the great luciferi.”]

·        The Resurrection –

o       “Number 1: I believe fully in the Resurrection of Jesus. I don’t simply believe it. I trust it. I try to live by it. Number 2: I believe the remains of the historical Jesus decayed like all human remains decay.”[20]

o       “Resurrection is not something that happened but it is something that happens. It is about new and authentic life in the present and opening oneself to that experience. It is what a good story does for us.”[21]

o       “The resurrection of Christ to me is not about heaven in the sky when you die. It is not about believing in a resuscitated corpse. It is also not merely a metaphor, symbol, or subjective vision. To see the resurrected Jesus or the cosmic Christ is to glimpse in a person the summit of consciousness to which we are ascending.”[22]

·        Hell – “The idea that God would send people to hell doesn’t make sense to me at all. It is a cruel doctrine.”[23]

·        Evangelism – “If we let go of hell, we may need to let go of evangelism. What is the point of trying to save people if they don’t need to be saved? Imagine if all religion gave up that one.”[24]

·        Heaven –

o       “The idea that heaven is a better place, when this life seems unbearable can be a great comfort. If that belief works for you, then keep it.”[25]

o       “My concern with beliefs about an afterlife is that they can (not necessarily so, but they can) lead one to devalue this life.”[26]

·        The Bible –

o       “[Paul] wrote some wonderful things. But not everything is a keeper.”[27]

o       “I love the stories of the Bible, the stories about Jesus and the stories about a new heaven and a new earth. I love them because they are imaginative stories of hope that can help us, if we understand them as stories, to enjoy what we can in this life and to work so that others can enjoy it as well.”[28]

o       “The preacher can no longer assume that just because a text is in the Bible that it is from God or is even valuable.”[29]

o       “The dogma of the divine inspiration of the Bible is nothing more than channeling God. It is unbelievable and unnecessary.”[30]

 

Actions of Presbyteries in the PC(USA):

  1. Presbyteries have, by common consent, failed to act when they have known that their members have advanced non-Christian doctrines or clearly violated the constitution of the PC(USA). This is, of course, not a universal phenomenon, but a very common one. In the case of Rev. Shuck, a letter from his executive presbyter (of the Presbytery of Holston) is very instructive. In it, Rev. Dr. Richard L. Fifield advances a rationale employed by many presbytery officials, but it contains several assertions that are entirely insupportable.

“I am aware of John Shuck's blog site. John is free to express his opinions and theological views—although much of what is on his blog are the viewpoints of other scholars and theologians—even if they are different from yours or mine or even mainstream Presbyterianism. John (and any ordained officer or church member, for that matter) is not free to depart from the practice of Presbyterian polity or Scripture…

Church discipline in the PCUSA is designed to bring about repentance, reconciliation and restoration for those who have acted contrary to Scripture or the Constitution of the PCUSA. John has appropriately and Constitutionally been examined by the Committee on Ministry, approved for membership in Holston Presbytery, and John has affirmed the Constitutional Questions required of ordination. I am not aware that John has acted contrary to Scripture or the Constitution of the PCUSA.”[31]

The fact remains that a pastor’s teaching ministry is part of what a presbytery validates. Rev. Shuck has been very clear that his blog is a portion of that ministry; his sermons are unarguably part of that ministry. If the presbytery validates this, then it bears an inevitable responsibility for that teaching. Rev. Dr. Fifield also seems to imply that there is some dramatic difference between teaching and acting – as if teaching were not in itself an action. Further, there is a suggestion that somehow the fact that some scholars and theologians advance views that are clearly incompatible with historic and New Testament Christianity had anything to do with the matter – as if to say that these academics could somehow transform Christianity into that which is logically incompatible with it. Finally, Rev. Dr. Fifield handily employs a complete misdirection (whether he is aware of it or not) when he asserts, “John is free to express his opinions and theological views…”.  No one is questioning or challenging the fundamental human right to form and express opinions. Instead a question is being raised over the fulfillment of the responsibilities of a teaching ministry validated by the presbytery. One would not, for example, hire a translator who did not speak, read, or write either the source or target language – because that translator would lack the necessary skills for the job in question – no matter how brilliant he or she might otherwise be. If one had, mistakenly, hired such a person, one would be remiss not to address the situation – in spite of the fact that the ‘translator’ has every right not to be able to read, speak, or write a particular language.

  1. The Presbyterian prayer to Allah was used by the Presbytery of the Pacific – along with devotional readings from the Koran. As this is an officially sanctioned prayer and practice, the presbytery in question probably cannot be held solely responsible for this.[32]
  2. The Presbytery of Newton adopted the natural implication from the PC(USA) endorsed prayer and overtured the 217th General Assembly “To accept and proclaim that Muslims, Jews and Christians worship the same God – the God worshiped by Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Moses, Mary, Jesus and Muhammad – and ask the one true God to bless efforts in dialog, building bridges of harmony and fighting violence and terror.”[33]   The 2006 General Assembly rejected this overture. [The overture in question would be less problematic were it not for Jesus. Since Christianity does not exist apart from the claim that Jesus is God, one cannot say with honesty that these worship the same God.]
  3. The Presbytery of Eastminster hosted an event, Can Peace Break Out. It was billed partly as a celebration of 25 years of a Presbyterian commitment to Peacemaking as a "believer's calling." Hiding among the usual panels, discussions, and presentations ("building bridges with Russia", "understanding Islam", "peace in the Middle East", "writing a song of peace") was this:

Creation Story, Great Story Beadmaking

"Focus on the care of earth as part of the peacemaking journey. GREAT STORY BEADS are a symbolic representation of the 13 billion year epic of Cosmos, Earth, Life, and Humanity, told as a sacred story that embraces all other sacred stories (including our own personal journeys). You will have a chance to work with beads to form a Great Story project.”[34]

The vision statement associated with the Great Story Beads:

“OUR VISION: The clear and unmistakable emergence of the Ecozoic Era — i.e., a mutually enhancing human-Earth relationship — within our lifetimes. This includes seeing the majority of the world's religious leaders and followers enthusiastically embracing an evolutionary, ecological worldview.”[35]

Among the many other items of interest to be found here is the section on evolutionary "Christianity" and the seven post-biblical revelations. These are, according to the Great Story crowd (and apparently according to Eastminster Presbytery):

1.     EVOLUTION understood in a sacred, God-glorifying way is a grand unifying, inspiring, empowering worldview.

2.     HUMAN LANGUAGE is inherently symbolic, meaningful, and consequential.

3.     THE UNIVERSE is not a thing, nor a place; it is a sacred story of nested creativity and cooperation at ever wider scale and levels of complexity.

4.     GOD is a legitimate, intimate, sacred proper name for that Ultimate Creative Reality which transends [sic] yet includes all other levels of reality.

5.     TIME has a direction. Creation is in a process of becoming more than it was before and becoming more intimate with itself, and with God, over time. Humanity is now an integral part of this process.

6.     HUMANITY: As a species and as individuals, we are maturing and our self-interest is expanding.

7.     DEATH, DESTRUCTION, AND CHAOS are natural and generative. Said another way, death and resurrection are integral to the cosmos and necessary for the continuing evolution of life and consciousness.

 

Actions by Officials of and Groups Endorsed by the PC(USA):

  1. The PC(USA) helped fund the 1993 ‘Re-Imagining God’ conference – contributing $66000.00 given by ordinary Presbyterians for missions; twenty-four PC(USA) staff attended. This conference notably featured the rejection of the atonement [“I don’t think we need folks hanging on crosses and blood dripping and weird stuff . . . we just need to listen to the God within.”[36]], milk and honey communion, and the worship of the goddess Sophia.  The claim was made that this goddess was somehow the same as the God of Christianity. The practitioners of this religion attempted to assert that they drew it from the personification of wisdom in Proverbs and some inter-testamental literature. On examination this claim is unsupportable for several reasons: Christianity is not based on the inter-testamental literature in question, nor has it ever been considered authoritative within Christianity. Had these practitioners had the Proverbs passage in mind, they’d have used Chokma – but that appears to have been rejected because it didn’t sound sufficiently like a goddess’s name. More disturbing, Sophia is clearly a pagan and Gnostic deity. The practice is also not something that modern Christian feminist theologians came up with (or re-discovered) on their own. Long before Presbyterians were praying to Sophia, modern Gnostics, a group of Wiccans, and Theosophists employed this usage. Whatever the case, the 1994 General Assembly determined that elements of the theology expressed in this conference were beyond the bounds of the Christian faith.
  2. After that decision, a Presbyterian affinity group, the Voices of Sophia was formed to carry on the movement. [ http://www.voicesofsophia.org/ ]  At the Voices of Sophia breakfast at the 217th General Assembly, Dr. Rita Nakashima Brok gave the keynote address. Dr. Brok was of the original speakers at the 1993 conference, and she gave the VOS breakfast a remarkably honest assessment of the religions in the Presbyterian Church (USA). She clearly communicated that her religion was at war with another religion.

“One of the great controversies to emerge from Re-Imagining was our rejection of the atonement, the idea that the torture and execution of Jesus Christ saved the world. My theological career has been spent dismantling that doctrine. I want to tell you today that I am convinced that atonement theology is the deepest betrayal of Christianity ever perpetrated. It is not just one way to understand salvation, but a betrayal of salvation, a doctrine that abandoned the life and ministry of Jesus Christ for loyalty to Caesar and his legions.”[37]

And:

“As Rebecca and I began to understand paradise, nearly everything we had previously understood about Christian history, theology, and ritual began to shift. It was as if we had been climbing a long mountain trail until, at a sudden turn, the switchbacks opened onto a new vista. We could see behind us the terrain we had trudged through “an arid Golgotha landscape of sharp, barren rocks that had left us thirsty, sore, and spent. Opening before us were vast meadows, lush and green, surrounded by sparkling snow-covered peaks, their cascading waterfalls flowing into rivers.

“What happened to the vision of this world as paradise? Where and how did Christianity shift from a focus on life in paradise to an obsession with atoning death and redemption through violence? How did it come to be that in the course of its second millennium, Western Christianity replaced paradise with a crucifixion-centered understanding of salvation, despaired at the extent of human sin and its inevitability, and isolated people with guilt to seek their own individual salvation?”[38]

It should be noted that the doctrine of atonement is the central tenet of biblical Protestant Christianity. Dr. Nakashima Brok clearly recognizes that her religion is incompatible with that followed by biblical Protestant Christians.

The Voices of Sophia’s status as an affinity group may or may not indicate institutional endorsement – it does not receive funding from the PC(USA) – but several actions do convey endorsement:

    1. In 1996, former (1976) GA Moderator of the UPCUSA Dr. Thelma C.D. Adair and former (1987) GA Moderator of the PC(USA) Isabel Rogers addressed the Voices of Sophia breakfast. Rogers described the VOS/re-imagining movement as having ‘moved way beyond where the church is.’[39]
    2. In 2000, Moderator of the 212th GA, Syngman Rhee addressed the Voices of Sophia Breakfast. Also in attendance were former moderators Isabel Rogers, Ben Weir, and Herbert Valentine.[40]
    3. In 2004 Vice moderator of the 214th (2002) General Assembly Ann Beran Jones, and 216th General Assembly Vice Moderator Jean Marie Peacock and Moderator Rick Ufford-Chase attended the Voices of Sophia Breakfast. Peacock and Ufford-Chase both spoke at the gathering.[41]
    4. Dr. Nakashima Brok was one of the plenary speakers at the 2005 Social Justice Biennial Conference. This conference is sponsored by Presbyterian Health Education & Welfare Association (PHEWA) in partnership with the Office of Women’s Advocacy; and this is an official PC(USA) event.[42]   She has also been a featured speaker at Presbyterian women’s events including the 2003 “Turning Mourning into Dancing”.[43]
    5. Materials from the Reimagining conference continue to be commended to Presbyterians by various Presbyterian groups with official relationships to the PC(USA).
  1. The prayer that addresses God as Allah was commended to the church by the Peacemaking Program and others; though highly troubling, this can hardly be regarded as their fault as the prayer is included in the Book of Common Worship.
  2. The May/June 2007 issue of Horizons, a publication for Presbyterian women included an article by Hill, Knitter and Madges, “Exclusivism, Inclusivism or Pluralism?”.  This article is, of course, a selection from an older text – apparently deemed important enough for Horizons to reprint it in an issue dubbed “Bible 101”. The article – whose chief purpose seems to be to extol the virtues of pluralism (apparently as a doctrine of the church) contains a couple of significant historical inaccuracies and failed attempts to re-interpret New Testament passages to fit a pluralist model. [One cannot have both – the New Testament and this perspective, unless one were to assert that the apostles got the story completely wrong.] Unfortunately, this is a perspective prevalent in issues of Horizons.

 

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[1] [“Prayers for the Church and Other People of Faith”, “For Muslims”, Presbyterian Book of Common Worship, 1993, p815 ]

[2] [“Prayers for the World”, “For World Religions”, Presbyterian Book of Common Worship, 1993, p798 ]

[3] “Why I am a Christian (Sort Of)”, Robert Jensen, The Palestine Chronicle, March 10, 2006 Available online at http://www.palestinechronicle.com/story-03100631503.htm

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] “The Teachings of Christ are Spiritual and Political: Why We Let an Atheist Join Our Church”, Rev. Jim Rigby, Counterpunch, March 27, 2006 Available online at http://www.counterpunch.org/rigby03272006.html

[8] “St. Andrews Mission Statement” Available online at http://www.staopen.com/mission.php This text has apparently been accepted in toto from another source; it is identical to “The Eight Points”, a definition of ‘progressive Christianity’ from the Center for Progressive Christianity. It is available online at http://www.tcpc.org/about/8points.cfm A part of the explanation given by the Center for its intended pluralism: “Today with our awareness of black holes, post quantum physics, multiple dimensions and multiple and expanding universes, it is impossible to believe that any one religion could have the whole picture or the correct understanding of God, let alone have an exclusive path to that God. To suggest anything else would be at best, arrogant.”

[9] “St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church”, William Martin, Texas Monthly, January 2001 Available online with subscription at http://www.texasmonthly.com/2007-01-01/index.php

[10] “What If We Found the Body of Jesus”, John Shuck, April 8, 2007 Available online at http://www.1stpres-eliz.org/whatifwefoundbody.pdf

[11] Ibid.

[12] “Imagine There’s No Heaven”, John Shuck, March 11, 2007 Available online at http://www.1stpres-eliz.org/imaginetheresnoheaven.pdf

[13] Ibid.

[14] “God as Creativity”, John Shuck, May 9, 2007 on Shuck and Jive Available online at http://shuckandjive.blogspot.com/2007/05/god-as-creativity.html

[15] Ibid.

[16] “Creation: In the Right Time”, John Shuck, October 20, 2006 on Shuck and Jive Available online at http://shuckandjive.blogspot.com/2006/10/creation-in-right-time.html

[17] “What If We Found the Body of Jesus”, John Shuck, April 8, 2007 Available online at http://www.1stpres-eliz.org/whatifwefoundbody.pdf 

[18] Ibid.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Ibid.

[23] “Imagine There’s No Heaven”, John Shuck, March 11, 2007 Available online at http://www.1stpres-eliz.org/imaginetheresnoheaven.pdf

[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Ibid.

[29] “The Bible: Word of God?”, John Shuck, February 17, 2007 on Shuck and Jive Available online at http://shuckandjive.blogspot.com/2007/02/bible-word-of-god.html

[30] “Channeling God”, John Shuck, February 22, 2007 on Shuck and Jive Available online at http://shuckandjive.blogspot.com/2007/02/channeling-god.html  

[32] “Presbytery’s Second Vote Backs Decision to Sideline Two Ministers”, John H. Adams, The Layman, May 13, 2005 available online at http://www.layman.org/layman/news/2005-news/presbyterys-second-vote-supporting.htm

[33] “On Affirming a Common Abrahamic Heritage Among the Three Faiths, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism”, Presbytery of Newton, 3/16/2006 available online at http://les-pcusa.org/Item.aspx?IID=79&

[34] The original brochure for this event was hosted on the Presbytery of Eastminster’s website at http://www.eastminsterpresbytery.com/Peace%20Promotion-final.pdf . It is currently available as a .doc file at http://www.eastminsterpresbytery.org/Brochure.doc . As matters of passing interest, the Moderator of the 216th GA, acting in his capacity as moderator, was a featured participant in the Can Peace Break Out event, and the Great Story project is endorsed by Rev. John Shuck on his website: http://shuckandjive.blogspot.com/2006/08/evolutionary-christianity.html .]

[35] The Great Story, Rev. Michael Dowd http://www.thegreatstory.org/ . “Our Vision” can be found at http://www.thegreatstory.org/missionstatement.html . Dowd’s “Seven Post-Biblical Revelations” are available at http://www.evolutionarychristianity.org/7revelations.html . “Great Story Beads” is targeted to K – Adult, and can be found at http://www.thegreatstory.org/great_story_beads.html .

[36] “Atonement”, Delores S. Williams, Dictionary of Feminist Theologies (Ed. Letty Russell and J. Shannon Clarkson - Westminster John Knox Press (An Imprint of the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation, an entity of the General Assembly of the PC(USA)), 1996)

[37] Re-Imagining Paradise, Rita Nakashima Brock, June 19, 2006 available online at http://www.voicesofsophia.org/Resources.html  [Personally, I disagree with Dr. Brok about her interpretation of Christian history – for example, I find the fact that Paul’s letters were fairly universally excepted in the early church to argue against her assertion. I find her envisioned kind of Christianity repulsive; I find it contains nothing new or different from the understanding of enlightened pagans. I find her interpretation of Jesus to be a creative fiction. I find her selective use of the patristic writers as a source of information about the practices of the early church to be unpersuasive.]

[38] Ibid.

[39] “Adair, Rogers challenge crowd to transform church, society”, Peggy Rounseville, July 1, 1996, PNS Available online at http://www.wfn.org/1996/07/msg00077.html

[40] “Voices of Sophia told to be doers of justice”, Sue Boardman, June 27, 2000 Available online at http://horeb.pcusa.org/ga212/News/ga00086.htm

[41] “Speaker espouses 'Samaritan theology'”, Erin Cox-Holmes, June 29, 2004, PNS Available online at http://www.pcusa.org/ga216/news/ga04045.htm

[42] “Conference Brings Together People of Faith Seeking Social Justice”, Daniel Murphy-Cairns, Paths of Peace, Spring, 2005 Available online at http://www.pcusa.org/peacemaking/pubs/pathspeacespring05.pdf

[43] “Women’s Advocacy Conference: Turning Mourning into Dancing”, Threads of Justice, Spring 2003 Available online at http://www.pcusa.org/womensadvocacy/thread-justice/spring-03/threads-sp03.pdf